by Erin

"Cotton" is an ongoing multi-media performance conceived and performed by artist and HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? member Monstah Black. In the words of the artist:

“Cotton” uses moving images, and songs to shape an abstract multi-media performance. It highlights struggle, imbalance, miscommunication, misunderstanding, privilege, supremacy, labels and how they continue to play a part in societal structure. 

Cotton displays a sense of bondage of the heart, mind, body, soul as well as bondage of the voice of the individual. It suggests the possibility of using your wildest dreams to create and ascend from the detriment of the past. 

Cotton vocalizes, moves through and wears that detriment. It uses detriment as empowerment to honor "black" ancestry in America. Cotton opens conversations between diverse groups of people with the idea that knowledge changes minds but incorrect assumptions separate. 

The abstract conceptual design of Cotton reflects and honors the history of blacks in America while imagining and being in an Afro-Futuristic future. Afro Futurisitic is now. With the use of Cotton balls (live and projected) the set and costumes become an Afro Futuristic Fairytale told through songs and txt by a Black Fairy, Monstah Black who dons a few characters (pre-recorded) to deliver the messages.

Cotton (The Show) is designed to experience a metamorphosis as it travels from location to location. As "Cotton" grows it encompasses elements based on Black American History from the significant locations it visits. The history from each location acts as a thread to weave the songs and the video projection together.

The live performance combines original music performed live, an installation created with cotton balls, textiles, paper, mannequin heads, wire, miniature lights, twigs/branches, rope, and projected video acting as a backdrop to support the non-linear storyline. Post performance discussions with the audience follows each performance.

Follow the project, watch video, and read more.